Jay-Z, Beyoncé for Mandela fest

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By Ano Shumba

US megastars Jay-Z and Beyoncé will headline the Global Citizen Festival at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on 2 December. The free event will be held in Africa for the first time and celebrate Nelson Mandela' 100th birthday, honouring his legacy to fight and end extreme poverty.

The event will be hosted by Oprah Winfrey, Naomi Campbell, Gayle King, Bob Geldof, Tyler Perry, Forest Whitaker and Bonang Matheba. Music artists include Cassper Nyovest (South Africa), D'banj (Nigeria), Ed Sheeran (UK), Eddie Vedder (US), Femi Kuti (Nigeria), Pharrell Williams (US), Chris Martin (UK), Sho Madjozi (South Africa), Tiwa Savage (Nigeria), Usher (US) and Wizkid (Nigeria).

Winfrey will deliver a keynote address remembering Mandela and his legacy.

“It is really about honouring the legacy of the late Nelson Mandela, the man who we all admire. It’s the reason why we are here today,” Global Citizen co-founder and CEO Hugh Evans said at a press conference in Johannesburg on Monday. 

"Mandela dedicated his life to the eradication of extreme poverty. This year, Global Citizen is committed to honour his legacy within the year that he would have turned 100 years old. This is the festival Mandela deserves and 2 December will mark the most significant event Global Citizen has ever produced. We are proud to do it in partnership with the Motsepe Foundation.”

South African businessman Patrice Motsepe said: “We partnered with Global Citizen because of the good work they do in encouraging young people to bring change in the world, and their advocacy and commitment to ending global poverty.”

 

Government support

South African Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe, who is the chairperson of the inter-ministerial committee overseeing the Mandela centenary celebrations, said the South African government was proud to be a partner of the event.

“This campaign has the support of the government of the Republic of South Africa. The event is a key part of the official programme acknowledging 100 years since the birth of the father of our nation, Nelson Mandela. It has also the full support and the personal backing of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Hadebe said the festival would be attended by a number of international dignitaries.

“I am thrilled that heads of states and governments have responded to Global Citizen’s call and already confirmed their attendance, including the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, and the President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi.”

 

Artist reactions

D’banj said the event provided a platform to answer Mandela’s call to continue the fight for justice and equality. "Thirteen years ago, Nelson Mandela called on us to be the 'great generation' that would end extreme poverty, injustice and inequality. Today, I'm proud to join the Global Citizen Festival,” the Nigerian pop star, whose son died in a tragic incident recently, said. Ed Sheeran, who will tour South Africa in March 2019, said: “I’m really looking forward to playing the Global Citizen Festival and paying tribute to Nelson Mandela, who has inspired so many to fight for what they believe in. It should be a great day.”

Tiwa Savage challenged everyone to take a stand against poverty. “It’s not just about the performance, it’s a journey to 2 December and the follow-through afterwards. I think all of us have to be accountable. I want to implore everyone that it’s not all about our leaders, it’s about each individual that is involved in this festival,” she said.

Sho Madjozi said: "Without the sacrifices of great South Africans like Nelson Mandela, I wouldn’t be able to live the life I lead today. Performing at Global Citizen Festival is a small tribute to his legacy and I cannot wait to take the stage in December."

Activists and music fans can earn their free tickets starting 21 August by signing up via the Global Citizen website and demanding that world leaders make major investments to end extreme poverty and take a stand for women and girls. – Music In Africa

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